One of the most challenging experiences for a parent is the five, seven, nine, or God forbid, 13+ hour car ride with the children. These car rides involve a tremendous amount of patience on behalf of the parents as well as the children (who lack well-developed abilities for patience as it is!). The typical car ride usually involves crying, yelling, annoying comments, dirty diapers, fighting, and much, much more. But keep in mind there is, believe it or not, a bright side to long car rides too. Long car rides can also include laughter, smiling, learning, prayer, and an enjoyable family experience. Here are few tips that will hopefully make your long family car ride much more fruitful and pleasurable for everyone involved.
- Pray the Rosary – The rosary is a great prayer to pray with the family during long and seemingly never-ending car rides. Praying the rosary together in the car not only calms children down but also blesses you with safe travel and a happy trip. Praying the rosary during a long car ride allows the whole family to think and meditate on the mysteries of Christ, turning an otherwise ordinary trip into a beneficial spiritual experience for the whole family.
- Listen to Catholic Audio Books — Catholic audio books are perfect for long car rides. Children’s Catholic audio books are a great way to get your children’s attention focused on learning more about their faith and listening to relevant, educational, and amusing stories. Maybe once your kids have decided to take a nap you can even pop in a version of the classic Catholic book, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross.
- Sing-a-long with songs about Catholic values – Catholic Children’s audio is a great way to keep your little ones entertained in the car. Many of these CD’s help with not only learning Catholic values but also basic development skills.
- Pop in a DVD – (Disclaimer: this tip only applies to those lucky enough to have a dvd player in their car!) If your vehicle has a DVD player, then there are many great Children’s DVDs that your children are sure to enjoy. One great DVD is called, “The Eucharist for Little Children.” This DVD is hosted by Broadway talent Jennifer Naimo and is a fun and educational way to teach your kids about the Catholic faith while in the car.
- Talk with each other – Long car rides are ideal for you and your family to talk to each other, which seems to be a lost art in today’s fast-paced society. Nowadays families seem to spend less and less and time together in meaningful conversation. Children get busier and busier as they get older, and parents do too. The long car ride is a chance to catch up and have some really great conversations. Talk about faith or any other topic your child is interested in.
These are just a few ideas on how to make the most of your long car rides with the family. Do you know of any other great ideas that have worked for your family? If so, please leave a comment below.
Copyright 2012 Kathleen Wellman